Archive | June, 2009

An Upgraded Mozilla.com for an Upgraded Firefox

As you no doubt have heard by now, we launched Firefox 3.5 today…a triumphant and exciting moment made possible by a lot of hard work from a lot of very smart, talented and dedicated people around the world. The result is a shiny new Firefox that includes dramatically improved performance, support for open video and other web standards, and new features ranging from geolocation to private browsing. Great stuff all around.

A release that awesome demands that we also upgrade the website that serves up those millions of downloads, so mozilla.com received its own set of 3.5 enhancements today. Check out the project plan for the full overview (and that doesn’t include the dozens of bugs that were filed to tweak things here and there), but here’s a list of my personal favorite improvements:

* a “thank you for downloading” video on the First Run and What’s New pages starring members of the Mozilla community (in addition to showing off some of the people who volunteer so much time to make Firefox possible, it’s also most people’s first exposure to the magic of open video)
* a page detailing the immense amount of back-end work that went into the release that we’re calling Under the Hood (includes some nifty graphs and a demo by Chris Blizzard)
* lots and lots of updates to our Firefox Features page, plus call-outs for what’s new and what’s been improved
* refreshed information on the Firefox download page, with redirects in place to display different content depending on which browser you’re using
* new illustrations throughout the site, most notably the addition of dolphins & gears to our existing homepage menagerie (hit refresh if you don’t see them right away)

Firefox 3.5 is Here!

Like any major site update, this was a large and complex project that was only possible through a true team effort. Special shout outs (in no particular order) go to:

* Steven Garrity, Stephen DesRoches and Mike Gauthier from silverorange for their tireless design and development efforts
* our Web QA superstars – Stephen Donner, Krupa Raj and Raymond Etornam – for checking the site over and over and over until it was right
* Pascal Chevrel and our localization community for making sure the key pages were available in more than 70 languages…a feat that staggers me the more I think about it
* the folks at The Royal Order & the Delicious Design League for continuing the great visual design and illustration work they started with the 3.0 site
* our incredible IT crew, including Jeremy Orem, Matt Zeier, Reed Loden and Justin Fitzhugh, for making sure everything worked
* Alex Buchanan, Frederic Wenzel and Mike Morgamic from our WebDev team for lending their magic touch to a variety of key areas
* all the technical experts – especially Chris Blizzard, but also Mike Beltzner, Vlad Vukicevic, Damon Sicore and Eric Shepherd – who patiently walked me through concepts like Native JSON and Web Worker Threads until I had them reasonably figured out
* Alex Faaborg for leading the charge on the new logo/icon and lending his detail-oriented expertise to plenty of other areas as well
* Sylvain Barre, Sébastien Adgnot and Pierre-Yves Kerembellec from Dailymotion for supporting the open video demo on First Run/What’s New with their bandwidth and expertise
* Alix Franquet and Rainer Cvillink for making all the new videos
* Paul Kim, Tara Shahian and Dave Bottoms for their opinions and ideas throughout the process

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Fastest Firefox, Part 3: On a Musical Note…

*Crossposted on the Mozilla Blog*

Earlier this month we launched a new project called Fastest Firefox to help spread the word about Firefox 3.5′s dramatically upgraded performance. As with most things at Mozilla, public participation is a key goal, and we’re hoping to get a bunch of community-created videos of Firefox fans showing off their speediest skills.

To contribute, just record a short video of you or your friends doing something really fast – anything from folding clothes to playing ping pong – then visit www.fastestfirefox.com to upload. We’ll edit our favorites into a single clip, and if we use yours you’ll get a supercool Firefox 3.5 t-shirt (plus the satisfaction of helping the open web and spreading Firefox, of course). The only catch is that the submission deadline is June 28, so time is running out.

We’ve also been collaborating with some truly incredible Guinness World Record holders. Earlier we shared videos from the world’s fastest clapper and the world’s fastest sport stacker, and our latest in that series comes from Todd Taylor, the world’s fastest banjo player. Watch Todd in action and prepare to be blown away.

If you still need more inspiration, check out this one-handed Rubik’s cube video from community member Daniel DJ Cruz Chan, then send us a video of your own!

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Building a Mozilla Visual Design Community

The Mozilla community has achieved more incredible things than I can count, and includes experts dedicated to disciplines ranging from software development to customer support to marketing to QA and much more. But, one key area that’s traditionally lacked an organized community is visual design.

Art is such a powerful form of communication, and over the past 11 years we’ve built up such a large body of iconic Mozilla imagery, that building a true community around it seems like the next logical step. Helping make this a reality is one of my biggest goals for 2009, and between our efforts so far on the Mozilla Creative Collective and the cool stuff happening around Personas we’ve already made some great strides toward that goal (with much more to come!).

So, with all that in mind, I’m really excited about our new partnership with the folks at Infectious. As Jay Patel announced yesterday, we’ve teamed up with them and their own community of artists to create a series of pieces inspired by Firefox. To help celebrate the upcoming 3.5 release, this artwork is available in a variety of formats, including iPhone skins, laptop stickers, car decals and more at the Infectious site, plus t-shirts and personas. Definitely check it out.

At the start of this project we gave the artists a series of classic Mozilla & Firefox values – community, innovation, idealism, open source and performance – and asked them to interpret them in their own styles. It was really fun to watch these talented artists use these basic themes in such different ways to produce such diverse results.

And, we’re just getting started. Next month we’ll team up with Infectious again to launch an open design initiative based around the same concepts and ideals listed above. It’ll also coincide with the beta launch of the Creative Collective site, which will be another huge step forward for our growing community (much more info on that coming soon).

Lastly, big thanks to the five artists – Zeptonn, David Lanham, Etsu Meusy, Reuben Rude and Paulo Arraiano – who contributed their talents to this project. Really inspiring stuff.

Infectious & Firefox: Zeptonn

Infectious & Firefox: Etsu MeusyInfectious & Firefox: Paulo ArraianoInfectious & Firefox: David LanhamInfectious & Firefox: ZeptonnInfectious & Firefox: Reuben Rude

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Old School Design + New Age Technology

Chris Blizzard and the Mozilla evangelism team recently launched a site called hacks.mozilla.org, devoted to showing off a variety of Firefox 3.5 demos over the next 35 days. Although the demos are undoubtedly extremely cool, my personal favorite thing about the site is the throwback-style design by Mozilla Labs’ Sean Martell.

When we were planning this site, our goal was to update Shepard Fairey’s classic “hack” artwork in a way that retained the original charm while reducing the “happy worker” iconography that understandably rubbed people the wrong way (much like with our “Mozilla: 10 Years” piece from last year). I’m really happy with how it turned out (big thanks to Sean).

The most exciting thing for me about all this is the realization that, just as Mozilla has built up a rich history of software development over the past decade, we’re also establishing a very nice visual design tradition. It’s a great sign for where we are as an organization that we can both draw on ‘classic’ styles that hold a lot of instant meaning for people while also creating new favorites like the Firefox robot or the mozilla.com illustrations. It’s a good place to be, and bodes well for a lot more coolness coming in the future.

hacks.mozilla.org

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Fastest Firefox, Part 2: More Speediness

*Crossposted from the Mozilla Blog.*

As I wrote last week, the upcoming Firefox 3.5 release will be significantly faster than any previous version of Firefox. To spread the word about this achievement, we’re asking members of worldwide Mozilla community to share videos of their own speedy feats.

If you’d like to join the fun, here’s all you have to do:

1. Record a short video of you at your fastest. You can be playing piano, running laps or writing a blog post…just make it fast!

2. Visit www.fastestfirefox.com and follow the easy instructions on how to upload your video to us.

3. We’ll be editing the best submissions into a single compilation, so check back about a week after the 3.5 release. If we use your clip, you’ll get a Firefox 3.5 t-shirt (not to mention great karma and a story you can tell your grandchildren).

Need inspiration? Don’t miss the video from the incredible Steven Purugganan, who at the age of 11 already holds multiple world records for sport stacking. If you’re not familiar with sport stacking just watch the clip and all will be revealed (but you may need to watch it a few times because it truly goes by in a blur).

Can you keep up with Steven? Be sure to visit www.fastestfirefox.com and show us your speed!

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World’s Fastest Clapper, Meet World’s Fastest Firefox

Note: I just announced the launch of our Fastest Firefox community marketing project over at the Mozilla Blog. Here’s a crossposted and slightly expanded version:

Firefox 3.5 will be here soon, and it’s shaping up to be by far the fastest Firefox yet: more than twice as fast as Firefox 3 and 10 times as fast as Firefox 2.

That’s a fact worth celebrating, and to spread the word we’ve reached out to some of our fellow Guinness World Record holders, each of whom knows a few things about speed. Our first record holder is Kent “Toast” French, whose ability to clap his hands 721 times in a minute (averaging 12x/second!) officially earns him the title of the world’s fastest clapper. Along with his son Joshua, Kent put on a truly astounding display of in honor of Firefox 3.5:

We know that Kent isn’t the only person in the global Mozilla community with a talent for speed, so if you want to help tell the world about Firefox 3.5 here’s what to do:

1. Make a short (30 seconds, max) video of you doing your speediest skill. It doesn’t matter if it’s making a sandwich, changing a tire or mowing your lawn…it just has to be fast.

2. Visit www.fastestfirefox.com and follow the easy instructions on how to upload your video to us.

3. We’ll be editing the best submissions into a compilation video that really shows off what our community is capable of, so check back about a week after the 3.5 release. If we use your clip, you’ll get a Firefox 3.5 t-shirt plus, of course, worldwide fame and the satisfaction of helping the open web.

In addition to Kent and the other record holders (more on them soon), this project came together because of the effort and talents of the very worthy people listed below. Big thanks to:

* Elise Allen
* Catherine Brady
* Alex Buchanan
* Fran Capo
* Pascal Chevrel and our truly amazing team of localizers
* Delicious Design League and The Royal Order
* Stephen Donner
* Alix Franquet
* Steven Garrity
* Mike Gauthier
* Paul Kim
* Nicole Loux
* Nobox
* Jeremy Orem
* Krupa Raj
* Tara Shahian
* Melissa Shapiro

Can’t wait to see your speedy videos!

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